How does the interactionism perspective affect an explanation of urban revitalization?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Symbolic interactionists say that it is important to look at how people interact with the world around them.  If we are to understand phenomena that happen in society, we have to look at how people perceive those phenomena.  Thus, an interactionist perspective would affect an explanation of urban revitalization by pushing it to examine how people think about cities and revitalization.

An interactionist explanation of urban revitalization might seek to understand how people think of cities and what symbols people perceive when they look at the cities in which they live.  For example, it might be the case that people see low-income areas along an urban waterfront as an embarrassment to their city.  They might feel that it symbolizes that their city has failed and is therefore not an attractive place to live.

If this is the case, they might well push for urban revitalization.  They will do so not because they are rich and white (as conflict theorists would say) or because revitalization helps everyone (as functionalists might say).  Instead, they will push for urban revitalization because they perceive a revitalized city as attractive and “nice.”


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